Greetings and welcome back to Academy life. My team of young freebies are doing themselves proud in Division 2 after our surprise promotion in the first season, but seeing as our number 1 graduated in September, we’ve got a job on our hands. So, what now?
Things get worse before they get better. We drop to 15th after a valiant but ultimately fruitless trip to Luton.
You may recall we drew 2-2 with Charlton in the 1st leg, well we’ve done exactly that again. Sadly, nobody except Pearson can take a penalty and that’s the end of that.
Finally some better news as we thrash a side who defend worse than we do.
As ever though good news is followed up by extremely bad news. I’ll miss Ryan Morrison. Barnsley better have plans for my young’uns.
Not to worry though, Billing gets his first goal for the club in a 3-0 mauling of Norwich.
Then we show Cardiff how it’s done. Hurrah.
To fill the Morrison hole I’ve opted for Chris Johnson. He’s a flairy type. I like that.
Wish he could pass. We ease pass Rotherham in the Windscreen Shield. We lost our first game 5-0, so we’re not guaranteed to go through but who cares.
The schedule shows no sign of letting up and 3 days later we host Bristol Rovers. We’re both in the hunt for the playoffs so it’s a shame when Jeremy Beadle scores twice.
High-flying Hull are our next visitors though and we raise our game – young Billing getting the decisive goal and reigniting our promotion hopes.
We’ve got the taste for it now and even when we fall behind at Chesterfield, a quick response lays the platform for two more goals and 3 more points. Howay!
Wrexham have made their way to the top of the pile so our trip there on a Wednesday night fills me with dread. TV personality Jeff Brazier gives us the lead but it soon disappears and that’s that. A huge shame.
Nevermind though, our anger is taken out on manager-less Wycombe. We had to come from behind but who cares? The young lads are going from strength to strength.
The FA Cup 1st round is always a special day on the calendar but I’m not really sure it applies to a club ran solely as a cash cow. Nevertheless, Gillingham are brushed aside and we’ll face Brentford in round 2. Ike Mashley can’t wait.
Back to league action as Oxford sit 7th whislt we are 6th. A draw is more than reasonable. That keeps us in the hunt at least.
Preston are a bit filthy. Two red cards and a 3-0 deficit, I bet Deepdale was a wonderful place to be at half time. We decide it’s best not to make it any worse.
I rarely step outside of the Academy bubble but I love it when things like this happen
Walsall are the next to taste defeat at the Arena.
Windscreen Shield time now. Huge game. You’ll remember I cared so much about this tournament I changed my entire team and lost 5-0 to Shrewsbury. Well, good news! We’re playing them again in the first knockout round. That’s poor planning. Anyway, short story longer than necessary, we are out.
I hope we have bigger fish to fry. Brentford visit us for an FA Cup 2nd round tie and it would mean…literally nothing to a club like us to make the FA Cup 3rd round. Prestige, history…are just two of the things we don’t have. Oh we won.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the FA Cup and we’ll try and go as far as we can but Ike. Oh Ike. He couldn’t give a Michael Twiss. It’ll be Norwich away in Round 3, who of course are also in Division 2 and were smashed to bits by us a few months ago.
Struggling Burnley is our next destination and like so many before us Paul Furlong stings us and we have to settle for a point. We’re 4th, remarkably.
6th placed Grimsby therefore is a bit of a crunch tie. The boy Billing puts us in front and a nervous hour ensues, but Gowshall gets on the end of a set piece to secure the points. It keeps us 4th but we’re only 2 points off top spot. Bloody nora!
The squad is showing signs of being weathered though. The two keepers who can’t catch are unhappy and keep asking to move. Shut up the pair of you. There’s a few injuries and suspensions cropping up, Twiss is the latest to be out for a few weeks whilst Pearson departs on a stretcher against Brentford. Bloody Brentford.
A point in the cirucmstances will do and actually moves us up to 3rd. But the news Pearson will be missing for 6 weeks is not what I wanted to hear. He’s played just about every minute since he joined so it’ll be a tough test to see how we get on without our main man.
Happy bastard Christmas.
Blackburn and Palace join the bidding and the reality is my captain will be departing in the near future. He hangs on until Boxing Day though, obviously desperate to play away at Watford but probably more accurately keen to save on travel expenses.
Take that, Sir Elton John. That puts us second. Why would you want to leave this, Stonesy?
In his defence, they are in the Premier League. 7th as well. Will never get a game.
Off to find his replacement then and all roads lead to Matty Walsh. Walshy. The Walshster.
Signed on his birthday too. He doesn’t want a clause, which immediately makes me suspicious that he is actually rubbish. I guess we’ll see.
We’ll finish with Norwich away in the cup. I’m left with a squad who are all timid as a scared cat, not a captain amongst them. The armband is thrown to TV personality Jeff Brazier. Walshy in for his debut.
Hopeless. Walshy had to be pulled after an hour as he played a 5 and was rancid. Barely any chances created, hopefully not a sign of things to come.
This seems like a good time to call it a day. A lot has happened in this update but the upshot of it all is that we have 20 games left and if we win them all we’ll be promoted. Even if we win some of them. Who knows?
On the negative side, we’ve lost our captain, our top scorer is out for another month or so and Nicky Byrne is unhappy. In a world of his own that boy. Still, I hope none of that puts you off joining me next Sunday for those remaining 20 games. See you there!
Not to worry anybody but Michael Twiss is worth £3.2m and wanted by Everton. Gulp. Billing is already worth £1m whilst Brazier is up to £1.7m. But for those who have flown the nest…
James Stones has just left so is yet to appear for Blackburn as he was cup tied. Ryan Morrison has played 4 games for Premier League Barnsley but made little impact, whilst Anthony Betterton can’t displace Dave Watson in the Oakwell goal. Gerard Lyttle is only on £5k at Leicester, not that I’m bitter, but he has made 9 appearances for them as they prop up the Premier League. Stuart McCaffrey has played 21 times for Stoke this season, so he’s a regular, as is Lee Norfolk at Huddersfiled with 27 games and 5 goals under his belt.
The big news though is Danny Gee, who is the first graduate to…graduate? He’s now doing a masters at Wimbledon or something along those lines. I don’t know how deep these metaphors can go, but look out for somebody doing a doctrate at Sparta Prague by 2006.
See you next week.